ARM to speed smartphone development

An agreement between chipmaker ARM and Nokia will create a ready-made blueprint for smartphones based on Nokia's Series 60
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

UK chip designer ARM said on Wednesday it will tweak its integrated development platform to make it easier for companies to create smartphones based on Nokia's Series 60 specifications.

The move bolsters Nokia's programme of fostering a wide range of Series 60 smartphones, which includes licensing the platform to a number of companies and encouraging the development of compatible software. Series 60 is Nokia's implementation of the Symbian operating system for keypad-operated smartphones, and has been licensed to Panasonic, Sendo, Samsung and Siemens, as well as Nokia's own mobile phones division.

ARM is best known for designing specialised processor cores, which are licensed to semiconductor makers such as Intel and Texas Instruments for devices that require low-power-consumption processors. ARM-based chips are found in most mobile phones and handheld computers.

ARM has traditionally left the integration of its cores to its semiconductor partners, but the relatively new Primexsys Platform aims to make this work easier by offering a blueprint in which ARM's technology has been integrated. This is intended to allow chip and device makers to come up with individualised products while reducing development time.

Primexsys already supports the Symbian OS, but Series 60 support should make development much easier for Series 60 licensees, according to Nokia. "Collaboration with the leading industry players, such as ARM, will benefit licensees with advanced functionalities, high performance and most importantly, reduced time-to-market when developing smart phones based on the Series 60 Platform," said Jukka Riivari, sales director with Nokia Mobile Software, in a statement.

Nokia has been one of the more aggressive companies attempting to bring smartphones into the mainstream. Series 60 standardises certain specifications, such as screen size, allowing software compatibility across various devices, while allowing the handsets to have an individualised look and feel.

Other smartphone operating systems, including the Palm OS, Windows CE and Linux have also been tailored to run on ARM chips.

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